The trouble with Mary Sue.

writing 2 comments

It’s hard when you’re writing a role for yourself to act in not to be selfish. You have to not only think about the technical aspects of writing, which is challenging enough, you have to write the character holistically, in service of the whole story and as a fully-realized human being. In Causality, I am being selfish: I wasn’t getting cast — there are never enough roles for women to go around — so I wrote a character for me! I have a lot of opportunities for interesting moments, both sad and funny, in my show. Shooting it has been some of (if not the) toughest acting, physically and emotionally, of my life. But I love Holly Wells. I really do.

But it keeps me up at night that I might have been either too selfish (or not selfish enough, which is another post) when I wrote her. What if she’s just too…precious? Or heroically goes through too much, or people love her too much? In other words, what if she just a flat character, with no failings and no flaws? Or just too much like me? There’s a name for that: Mary Sue, and it has all kinds of permutations from extra sweet and perfect to a Manic Pixie Dream Girl sort to an evil (but irresistiblel!). It comes from fan fiction originally, but can be applied to other kinds of fiction and RPG characters. (I’m looking in your direction, Bella Swan.)

I’m lucky that I have other people to work with to help me craft her and the other characters. Of course they tell me that she’s a well-rounded person, and under it all I know she is. But it was still fun to take this test to see where Holly falls.

Ready? Go!

So, what’s Holly’s score, in the categories of “Original Fiction Characters” with “De-Suifiers” added? -8.

By the measures of a fun little internet quiz, Holly Wells is probably not a Mary Sue. What a relief!

I should do the other characters now…

Posted by   @   February 29, 2012 2 comments

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Feb 29, 2012
1:43 pm
#1 Joanna :

Phew! Edda got -10. :)

Feb 29, 2012
4:29 pm
#2 Glynis Mitchell :

I know, huh? We’re going to do these on the other main characters soon and post them. It’s pretty fun!

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